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Swedish Editions

4 Mar, 2023 (edited)
2023-3-4 12:54:44 AM UTC

With the arrival of the paperback version of the first swedish edition of LotR I realized I have what now amounts to a kind of mini-collection from my neighbouring country. While our norwegian translator Nils Ivar Agøy is a true treasure (I wish i could convey how amazing his silmarillion translation is), the swedes have a tolkien publication history rich with bibliographically significant editions and great illustrators we can only envy from our side of the central scandinavian mountain chain. I have for a while planned on taking pictures of my entire collection of books but that will still have to wait for my new shelves being finished, here are my swedes:

The hardback and paperback versions of the swedish first edition 1959-1961. All first printings. Thank you LanceFormation and Predictable Matt for the discussion about the swedish first edition. In fact that discussion made me realize the bibliographical significance of the paperback edition: this is THE first paperback edition of the LotR relegating all the 1965 paperback sets including the ACE, the Ballantines Green box and the dutch first paperback edition. Of course the translator Åke Ohlmarks also has some notority, but notority aside I should also mention that Ohlmarks does have some beautiful creative translations of names.

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The other two LotR sets are the swedish second edition hardbacks (1978-1980) and a paperback set from 1980 (first printings). Both with beautiful Inger Edelfeldt covers.

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The first edition of 'the hobbit' translated from english is the famous 'hompen' from 1947 - indeed a very early hobbit. Tolkien was not a fan and for a scandinavian reader it's not hard to see instances of the translator going wrong. At times a very funny read.

The 1962 'Bilbo – En hobbits äventyr' was the second swedish translation of 'the hobbit'. This time translated by the far more capable author Britt Hallqvist. This edition is like 'hompen' much sought after by Tolkien collectors. The editor is the great Astrid Lindgren a giant herself. Her books for children and young people have been translated to over 100 languages speaking volumes about her marvelous innsight and universal appeal. For people having grown up in sweden and norway, Lindgren is a magical part of childhood. The book is illustrated by Tove Jansson (brought in on the project by Lindgren), the creator of the moomins herself, and her contributions are among the most original and memorable illustrations made for a Tolkien book. Jansson is by the way from Finland, but like many people from the swedish talking minority in Finland she has a swedish name.


Here is also a first edition swedish silmarillion from 1979. Another early translation.
Arda Special: Between Faith and Fiction, collecting the the proceedings of the Arda symposium at the Second Northern Tolkien Festival in Oslo (this one qualifies as a shared norwegian/swedish venture).
Arda volume 4 and volume 5 (published as a double volume): again a swedish tolkien publication of bibliographical importance as it reproduces 'The Clerkes Compleinte' which up until this point had only been published (anonymously) in The Gryphon in 1922.


And finally an original work by Inger Edelfeldt 'Smeagol takes the ring', one of the starkest Tolkien illustrations I know of.

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4 Mar, 2023
2023-3-4 1:31:33 AM UTC
What a great selection of Swedish books northman. I see I’ve have to add a few items to my to-buy list.
4 Mar, 2023
2023-3-4 3:14:27 AM UTC
Congratulations northman! Quite the accomplishment
4 Mar, 2023
2023-3-4 8:23:44 AM UTC
What a wonderful (and envy-inducing!) overview - thanks for sharing!
4 Mar, 2023
2023-3-4 8:46:46 AM UTC
Fantastic northman!

Question on the Sweden Hardback 1st LOTR?

Do you know how many printings there were of each book? Two?
4 Mar, 2023
2023-3-4 9:04:05 AM UTC
I made a few minor changes to northman's original post, but thank you for posting this. Really impressed
4 Mar, 2023
2023-3-4 9:35:03 AM UTC
I watch over them with great envy! I 'll have to collect those swedish 2nd editions hardback and '80 softback with Inger Edelfeldt illustrations. They're just magnificent. Congratulations northman
4 Mar, 2023
2023-3-4 12:17:33 PM UTC

remy wrote:

Fantastic northman!

Question on the Sweden Hardback 1st LOTR?

Do you know how many printings there were of each book? Two?

I've seen a fair few sets for sale but only recall seeing first printings, one volume each year from 1959 to 1961.

However, there is a reference (though not a detailed one) in the records of the Swedish National Library to a Swedish printing from 1962 (see screen grab) - the Library is only a few minutes walk from where I work, so I'll see if I can get over there during the week to take a look.

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4 Mar, 2023 (edited)
2023-3-4 1:27:39 PM UTC
Thanks Matt.

I came across a 2nd Printing of the Fellowship recently (hence the curiosity). So was also wondering were the other two volumes reprinted or just the Fellowship.

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4 Mar, 2023
2023-3-4 2:08:35 PM UTC
Aha I see... I just checked the Library catalogue again ( and there's no trace of a second printing of either TT or ROTK.
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